Founders Club Maastricht celebrated its second birthday. Describing Founders Club as being grown up would be exaggerated, but we are standing on two feet. Independent. Growing. And most importantly devoted to spurr the spark of entrepreneurship in Maastricht and the Euroregio. This is also a goodbye post for me as a co-driver. It is a little bit sad to step away from being actively co-driving what is happening with Founders Club. It has been an amazing time. It will continue to be amazing. But I want to take a moment to write down a few words about the second year of our entrepreneurial journey.
Why Founders Club matters
After the initial kick-off excitement and continuous energy that me, all co-drivers and our partners and members put into the project, the question become more and more relevant. Why does it actually matter to push Founders Club? Why join our meetings? Why become a member? Let me start with a counter question: What was the biggest acquisition this year? Microsoft has bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. This acquisition illustrates the value of a professional network.
Founders Club matters because we build a local network of people who think outside the box. People who are exceptions. Normally when you go on a network event you talk to a bunch of people who actually have nothing to say. That is different in a place like Founders Club. The people who are part of our group is the piece I am most happy with. An amazing bunch of crazy and warmhearted people who believe in working together and sharing ideas. Wonderful. And everyone who counts themselves as part of our group can be proud about it.
What we accomplished
Our biggest goal this year, was to bring Founders Club into a shape that we could hand it over to a new generation. Bring some of our experiments in shape and form. Make the Club tangible and scalable. Apart from the pure instinct of survival it meant also bringing the groundwork for actual growth. We organized 2 trips. One to Berlin and one two Cologne/Dusseldorf. We continue to experience that these trips bring exceptional value to our participants. Overall we connected to 21 companies with our members and with Founders Club. So far we visited these companies, had a lot of fun and that was it. From now on, we do not want to stop there. We want to bring the companies in our network more value connecting to us. Therefore, we started offering a job platform on our website.Through an easy web form, any company can upload there job offer. As of January we are now an official association registered with the chamber of commerce. With being registered we are now having registered members that are actually our shareholders. End of June we were holding our first General Members Meeting allowing our members to put the co-driver team into place.
What were harder times?
I want always more. Faster, bigger, better. Our first year was such a grand success. In line with this experience, we expected to be able to continue to build up exactly at the same spot. Taking the community as given. We as Founders Club underestimated a lot the after effects of people leaving. Maastricht yet is not a place where people stay for long time. They rather move on somewhere else. A new academic year requires to get the machine back going. When a part of the community leaves the other part collapses at first. This was a hard lesson we had to learn with the first 2 to 3 months being rather empty at our meetings. The rest of the year was so amazing that these times are forgotten. But it was a valuable lesson to learn.
Differences to year one?
Both years were fabulous. And yes they were massively different of each other. In the first year we blindly tried things out, expanded our brand and outreach and just created a massive momentum. I like to describe it as an “Build and Buzz” year. The second year now was rather “Build the Foundation”. Lower buzz, more fundamentally important structures that prepare the ship to not fall apart once leaving the safe harbor.
The future is now in the hands of a new generation. I could not be prouder of the new team. As we put a lot of new, raw structures in place the biggest focus will be in refining these structures. Getting the membership round and going. Expanding traffic to our website including our job platform in order to get our offerings in shape and solid. What is sure to me now is the relevance of the network that we built. Jenny did an amazing initiative with the Founders Club Nomads group. We hope to expand this idea by connecting our members further. Why not go all on an “Alumni-Startup-Trip”? In case you have ideas please drop them in the comments below.
With these words I salute to you Founders Club. It was truly great working with you. Big thank you to everyone who supported us along the way so far!!!
Continue to build, measure, learn, found, excite and inspire.
Author – Justus Niemzok